As in here again but also my aching--
last week at work as I bent repeatedly
picking up trash others had abandoned
on the receiving area floor, I felt something pop
and haven't been right since. This is not
a complaint. I'm pushing through, pushing on,
though it hurts to stand, hurts to sit, hurts
to maneuver down the stairs one at a time
like some octogenarian. Putting on socks
in the morning's an ordeal. I can't kneel
at work to scan the bottom shelves when
taking inventory. Friday, buoyed by pain
relievers and caffeine, I knelt to retrieve
an ink cartridge for a customer and burst
out a yelp like a kicked dog. Apologized.
Handed the cartridge up to her and waved
her to the register across the store, thinking Can't stay here, thinking How the hell do I get up? This is not
where I thought I'd be, I said to Marjorie
after the poetry reading on Tuesday, my
first chance in months to attend language
joyfully, publicly, finally free of the shame
of not getting that job, yes, but also
and more importantly of dreading
the what-are-you-working-on chitchat
unavoidable when meeting old friends
who (still) teach. And she agreed, of course
it's odd for us all to look around, look
back, think How on earth? This is not
the end of the world, to be employed
when so many are not, though the pay's
obscenely low--fully half this month's
wages are going to my mechanic to keep
my 15-year-old car roadworthy, and though
the second bill was a shocker (the check engine light flashing the very day after
the Saturn passed inspection, following
two hundred dollars' worth of repairs),
and though I moaned You guys are killing me here as I wrote out two more post-dated
checks, handing over half of what
I haven't yet earned, of course I remembered
to thank him for a job well done.
And so go the days. I'm past the midpoint of an eight-day workweek and yes, I'm tired. Tired, tired. Not in the sense of the mental exhaustion that accompanied teaching, but in the rubber-to-the-road sense, the don't-cross-the-store-without-something-in-hand-because-there's-always-more-to-do-than-anyone-can-accomplish sense, the yes-I'm-happy-to-discuss-your-business-card-design-setup-while-your-screaming-child-throws-saliva-sodden-Fruit-Loops-at-me-and-knocks-everything-from-the-counter sense. And thank you for letting us serve your copy and print needs. And do come again.
Meanwhile, I have a micropress to run. My god, I'm so grateful for the huge response we've had over the past year. It may not be huge by anyone else's standards, but it definitely set me months behind. I'm used to doing all this by myself, but now there's so much more of it to do. Was it a mistake to take on so many titles and commit to keeping 90% of them in print? I still don't think so, but I've realized that these delays have probably left more than a few folks bewildered or even pissed off. I'm trying, I'm really trying, to catch up.
I think I have the design figured out for Lou's chapbook--sending a mock-up to the author tonight. And printing out more page sets of Ava's chapbook, in hopes of getting copies I owe out by mid-week. And working on assembling Daniel's copies, also to send out mid-week. And trying to get this fresh batch of Catherine's chap packaged up to go into the mail by Tuesday. And I need to buy paper to finish a fresh set of copies for Boyer. And Pedro's page sets need to be tied.
And my feet hurt. And I'm sorry to have missed the Small Press Festival in Pittsburgh this year. Sigh.
The fair days of fall are here--no rain forecast for the next few days at least--and I'm stuck this week with a split shift, 12-8, that lets me enjoy neither morning nor evening outside. I'm ready to get back to my 7-3: as much as I hate getting up at 5 (okay, more like 5:30 after I hit the snooze button once or twice), I love coming home in mid-afternoon and feeling like there's something left of the day.
The Hoagland reading was as expected: good, but nothing to take away and ponder, no lines ringing in my head, no images that rang with sudden recognition. I'm not being completely fair. It was a good reading. He brought race into the conversation, which is admirable. I'm pretty familiar with several of his books, so wasn't expecting to be too surprised. He's a lovely person. I hear his Q&A went very well. In the end, I just didn't feel that the poems went far enough. Maybe that's an unfair expectation. I'm just sayin'.
Must rush to shower and stop at the post office to mail four chapbooks. I have about a dozen more of Catherine Staples' chapbook ready to mail and hope I can get those out tomorrow. Tonight, assembling more covers of Daniel Terry's Days of Dark Miracles and thinking about the cover design of Louis McKee's forthcoming chap.
Managed to schedule the day off so I could attend Tony Hoagland's reading at Bucknell tonight. It starts in an hour--ack!--and we haven't had dinner yet.
Met with my friend Paula H to talk about a possible logo design for Seven Kitchens Press. I've already seen some good designs from someone who responded to my FB post last week. Paula's going to try a different angle. Looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.
Assembled 20 chapbooks today, mostly copies of Mary Meriam's The Poet's Zodiac, which catches me up with those orders (assuming I can get them into the mail tomorrow). A steady, busy day, punctuated now and then by sunshine. I hear tomorrow's going to be beautiful.
Discovered this in the garden while trying to get a good photo of the columbines blooming under the white pines--too late in the evening for good light, and taken with my phone's camera to boot, but here's what may be the last morel of this bountiful crop:
I'm completely in love with Ed Madden's new book of poems, Prodigal: Variations (from Lethe Press), and have been reading it slowly, one or two poems a day, since it arrived earlier this week. Full disclosure: I published Ed's chapbook, Nest, in a limited edition of 49 copies last summer. Some of those poems are here, but it's not for their familiarity that I'm so drawn to this book. It's simply gorgeous: attentive to detail, personal yet mythical, each poem draws me in quietly but with a sure-footed lyrical eye and ear. A gorgeous collection. Go read this book.